It's getting hard to tell what is a niche browser and what's potentially a player now. Chimera, AOL on Mac OS X, Mozilla, and Netscape 6+ all use the Gecko rendering engine, and none have a 5% share of the market. I'd hoped AOL would expand Gecko-based AOL on Windows and Apple would use a browser based on Chimera, and we'd have a good group of players that, under the Gecko flag, would at least be on Microsoft's radar.

Konqueror and now Safari, Apple's new browser, use khtml for rendering, not Gecko, however. Though Konqueror certainly must have had less than one percent of the market before January 7th, now with Safari's introduction on the Mac we've got 300,000 or so users added practically overnight, and OmniWeb users are apparently going to join them soon. Every one of those users is, in a sense, a lost Gecko supporter.

(Please forgive the out-of-the-air numbers in the following paragraph. Hopefully they're ballpark; I didn't research them for a blog.)

So now that 10% or less of non-IE users out there have been whittled down into two major camps, making any one voice all the quieter. And who do you think web developers are going to support? Before, you could grab 99% of the market, give or take, by supporting two browsers, IE and Netscape 4.x. The number of people gained by supporting Netscape, even when it was clear they were going to lose the Browser War, was worth it. Now, you've got more than 80% (90%?) using IE, and to add the rest you've got to test at least two different places just to pretend you've got everyone covered. Adding support for Mozilla so that everything Gecko behaved was a shoe-in. Now with Safari to worry about, it's harder to keep all your bases covered.

The bottom line is that if there are too many more semi-successful browser projects, it's going to hurt the alternative browser community as a whole. I'd really hoped Apple would expand on Chimera, b/c that would make Gecko a real player when the new Apple browser becomes the default on the Macintosh desktop, which it seems it quickly will.

And now, a few links I had open last night but would prefer to close out (and save here instead in case I want to come back to them):

Even Woz still uses Mac OS 9
Pretty good review of Safari
"101 Reasons why Java is Better than .NET" -- I personally hate it when people write things like this. It's like writing, "101 Reasons why a screwdriver is better than a wrench." For you guys reading this late at night, note that I didn't say, "101 Reasons a screwdriver [as in the drink] is better than a wench."
Long list of alledgedly buggy IMAP servers, including Microsoft Exchange.
Sending authenticated email with the JavaMail API
rfc 2554, SMTP Service Extension for Authentication